Sithole murder case heads for the high court

2015-05-27 11:57
Emmanuel Sithole's sister Thando speaks to News24. (Naledi Shange, News24)

Emmanuel Sithole's sister Thando speaks to News24. (Naledi Shange, News24)

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Johannesburg - The sister of slain Mozambican national Emmanuel Josias Sithole expressed her disappointment after being turned away from the Alexandra Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

Three men and a minor accused of Sithole's killing appeared in the Alexandra Magistrate's Court behind closed doors on Wednesday morning.

Sithole's family, who has religiously attended the proceedings, were barred from entering the courtroom along with the media.

"We didn't go in the court because they said we are not allowed," Sithole's sister, Thando told reporters outside the court.

"The only people who were allowed [in were] the family of the minor. We are not okay but what can we say? It's South African law. We cannot argue with law," she said.

In previous proceedings, journalists had been permitted into the courtroom where they recorded and took photographs of the proceedings.

In camera

On Wednesday however, a prosecutor said they would not be allowed into the courtroom as the proceedings would be held in camera because of the presence of the minor.

The 17-year-old boy had first appeared in court along with the three other co-accused following their arrest in April just days after Sithole's murder.

He was pulled from the proceedings and put in a place of safety when the court was informed that he was still a minor.

The minor, along with Mthinta Bhengu, Sizwe Mngomezulu and Sifundi Mzimela, were alleged to have attacked and stabbed Sithole in the streets of Alexandra on March 18.

The vendor died from a stab wound to the heart.

Sithole's attack was allegedly sparked when he demanded payment after the four had taken cigarettes from his stall.

The attack was documented by a newspaper photographer who was in the area following a spate of xenophobic attacks in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal during that time.

The photographer's pictures aided police in making an arrest.

Plea bargain

One of the accused, Bhengu indicated he wanted to enter into a plea bargain with the State.

Mzimela and Mngomezulu, however tried to get bail. It was denied.

The case against the four would now be heard in the High Court in Johannesburg on June 22.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Velekhaya Mgobhozi explained that the proceedings would most likely happen in camera.

"The preliminary inquiry has found that the child [involved in the case] does not take responsibility for his actions therefore under the Child Justice Act, he must be tried in the Child Justice Court," said Mgobhozi.

Read more on:    emmanuel sithole  |  johannesburg

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